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This pamphlet first appeared in the March-April 1969 issue of 
International Socialist Review and was reprinted by permission. 
This second edition h as been slightly revised. 

First Edition, May 1969 
Second Printing, May 1970 
Second Edition, May 1971 



A MERIT PAMPHLET 

Pathfinder Press, Inc. 

410 West Street 

New York, N. Y. 10014 

Manufactured in the United States of America 



Books cited 

Complete Diaries (Vol. 3} by Theodor Herzl. Theodor Herzl Press, New York, 1960. 

From Vision to Reality (Preparatory Theses for the 4th Mapam Party Congress, April 17-20, 

1963) by Meir Ya'ori. Mapam, October, 1963. 
Israel and the Arab Refugees by Don Peretz, Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C., 1958. 
Israel and the Arabs, collection of articles by Yosef Vaschitz and others. Hashomer Hotzair 

English Speaking Department, Israel, June, 1962. 
Israel and the Middle East by Harry Ellis. Ronald Press Co.. New York, 1957. 
Jewish Labor, collection of articles and speeches by David Ben-Gurion, H. Frumkin and others 

in Hebrew. Histradrut, 1935. 
The Middle East at the Crossroads by T. Cliff. Revolutionary Communist Party, London, 1 946. 
The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays by Isaac Deutscher. Oxford University Press, 1968. 
The Other Israel, pamphlet by Israeli Socialist Organization (MATZPEN), Tel Aviv, July, 1 968. 
Promise and Fulfillment by Arthur Koestler. Macmillan, New York, 1 949. 
The Revolt, Story of the Irgun by Menachem Begin. Schuman, New York, 1951. 
Seven Fallen Pillars-The Middle East 1945-1952 by Jon Kimche. Praeger, New York, 1953. 
The Struggle for the Land by Joseph Weitz. Lion, the Printer, Tel Aviv, 1 950. 
Summary of Lecture Given by MX [Member of Knesset] Y. Chazan, English text by Y. Haggai. 

Mapam's Conference, Tel Aviv, Jan. 6-7, 1967 
Voice of Israel by Abba Eban. Horizon Press, New York, 1957. 
Zionism and the Israeli State by Larry Hochman. Radical Education Project pamphlet, Ann 

Arbor, 1967. 

Zionism, Israel, and the Arabs edited by Hal Draper. Independent Socialist Clippinqbooks 
Berkeley, 1967. 

The Arabs in Israel by Sabri Jiryis. The Institute for Palestine 
Studies, Beirut, 1968. 



Peter Buch 

BURNING ISSUES 

OF THE MIDEAST CRISIS 



On December 28, 1968, Israeli commandos swooped down on Beirut 
international airport in two helicopters. Waving submachine guns 
to discourage interference, they attached explosives to thirteen civilian 
airplanes. Forty-five minutes later they flew off, leaving nearly $50 
million worth of damage. 

U. S. government leaders were sharply critical, although they has- 
tened to add assurances of prompt delivery to Israel of fifty Phantom 
jets. The nations represented on the Security Council — even Israel's 
staunchest supporters — unanimously censured her for a "retaliation" 
far out of proportion to the "provocation." For one thing, most of 
the blitzed airplanes were U. S. and European owned, and even the 
best of friendships can be strained over a matter of $50 million! 

The key question for the imperialist powers, so far as the Middle 
East is concerned, is whether Israel's policies help them to "contain" 
and "roll back" the Arab revolution. But they are anxious that this 
be accomplished without at the same time touching off a general 
Mideast war. Such a war risks an armed conflict with the Soviet 
Union, possibly involving nuclear weapons. It could spark the very 
explosion of Arab revolution the imperialists are so hopeful of sup- 
pressing. 

This is the "powder keg" Nixon wants "defused." The new president 
is worried that Israeli "reprisals" advance the spark moving up toward 
the "keg" in proportion to the size of the so-called reprisal. What were 
the immediate results of the attack on the Beirut airport that Israel 
insisted was dictated by the most imperative consideration of "self- 
defense" and even "national survival"? 

Arab guerrillas simply shrugged their shoulders and continued 
their activities — their airplanes hadn't been destroyed! There was an 
upsurge of Arab nationalist feeling in Lebanon, which before that 
had been quite placid. Tens of thousands of Lebanese people, mostly 
youth, mobilized in the streets to protest the regime's inaction and to 
demand conscription as well as the arming of frontier villages against 
Israeli attack. The premier was forced to make a public pronounce- 
ment, sanctioning the commandos for engaging in "legitimate and 






sacred acts." And the government fell anyway, to make way for more 
radical and anti-Israel rulers. 

Why did Israel attack Lebanon, the most moderate, pro-Western 
Arab state? Lebanon was ruled by a conservative anti-Nasser regime, 
and guerrilla operations and training had been outlawed on Lebanese 
soil. In a clash only three months before, the government's army had 
murdered an Al Fatah commando. But it is precisely the upsurge of 
the Palestine liberation struggle — as we hope to demonstrate — that 
fundamentally explains Israel's heightened aggressiveness in recent 
months, typified by the raid on the Beirut airport. 

The Palestine liberation movement 

Up until the June war of 1967, the Western press took little notice 
of the Palestinian Arabs, except as long-suffering refugees whose fate 
hung on the outcome of diplomatic and military encounters of other 
forces: Israel, the established Arab nations, the UN, the great powers, 
etc. These Palestinians were split up into widely separated refugee 
camps, restrictively governed by the governments of Egypt, Jordan, 
Syria, and Lebanon. They were leaderless, crushed by poverty, un- 
employment, humiliation, and despair. But today the Palestinians are 
beginning to speak and act for themselves once again. The new situa- 
tion was indicated in a revealing, if patronizing, report from Amman, 
Jordan, appearing in the December 27, 1968, New York Times: 
"Before the Arab-Israeli six-day war in June 1967, a visit to a Pales- 
tinian refugee camp could be embarrassing for an American. He 
might be met with curses and arm-waving insults, accused of being 
an imperialist and a Zionist, and held personally responsible for 
seeing that justice was done the refugees. 

"Now the refugees have gained a certain dignity. No longer so 
demanding and accusatory, their leaders discuss what they are doing 
for themselves, what the commandos are doing to liberate the Pales- 
tinian homeland. They are purposeful now and their morale is high. 

"There are few pictures of President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 
rain- and wind-whipped camps these days. He Is still popular, but 
not a hero. After the wars of 1948, 1956, and 1967, no one expects 
to be liberated by the Egyptians. 

"The heroes now are the commandos, especially those of Al Fatah, 
the largest and most active group. Posters of guerrillas carrying 
automatic weapons are displayed in every prominent place. The 
commandos' leader is no longer the noisy, boastful, passionate and 
publicity-loving Ahmed Shukairy, but Yasir Arafat, known as Abu 
Amar, who combines restrained eloquence, sentimentality and human- 
ism with personal modesty and devotion to action." 

This report offered an opinion on the origins and aims of Al Fatah 
and the circumstances which have led to their new prominence: 

"Only an elite from the camps can hope to qualify for Al Fatah 



or other commando groups. Most commandos are recruited not from 
the unskilled sons of peasants who throng the camps, but from the 
educated young men who have gone out from the camps to practice 
a trade or profession throughout the Arab world. This belies the 
theory that training would lead to economic integration of the refugees 
in their new homes and indifference to 'the return.' 

"The Fatah' s dedication can be traced to its earliest days, when it 
tried to organize among Palestinians studying and working in Ger- 
many in the mid-nineteen-fifties but found itself blocked by 
Nasserites . . . 

"Although Al Fatah terms itself independent of all governments, 
it feels closest to Algeria, with her tradition of successful self-libera- 
tion and rejection of a political settlement in Palestine. 

"After the June 1967 war, men like Abu Amar felt that the time 
they had prepared for was at hand. The Israelis added to this feeling 
by continuing to occupy the west bank of the Jordan River. Last March 
21, at Karameh, a large refugee settlement near the old Allenby 
Bridge over the Jordan River, the Israelis made a major infantry push 
and the commandos, supported by Jordanian artillery, made a major 

stand. 

"Their story is that they held their ground in Karameh and beat 
the Israelis fairly for the first time since 1948. The Israelis say that 
they retreated, as planned, after a punitive raid against a guerrilla 
camp. The details are unimportant. Fatah' s account is believed and 
it nurtures the commando mystique. 

"After Karameh, President Nasser, who had been lukewarm to the 
movement, recognized the commandos and gave Fatah an hour's 
daily radio time. That program is today probably the most popular 
in the Arab world . . . 

"Although the commando movement basically seeks to reclaim the 
former Arab territory of Palestine, some supporters feel that it is 
actually the start of a new phase of the Arab revolution begun by 
President Nasser in 1952 when he and other officers overthrew King 
Farouk and established Arab socialism . . ." 

An interview with Al Fatah leader Abu Amar in the January 1969 
issue of Tricontinental magazine, organ of OSPAAAL (Organization 
of Solidarity with the .Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America) 
and published in Cuba, sheds more light on the new movement. "We 
have not taken up arms to force two million Jews into the sea or 
to wage a religious or racial war," Amar states. "The Jews lived 
alongside the Arabs, including the Palestinians, for many years, and 
we have never proposed to expel the Jews from Palestine. We are 
carrying the war forward to expel from our country a military occu- 
pation force set up by international imperialism and led by the U. S. 
government, British imperialism, and international Zionism — which 
served as the instrument for carrying out imperialist policy in the 
creation of Israel ... We are a national liberation movement which 



4 



is struggling just like the fighters of Vietnam, Bolivia, or any other 
people of the world . . ." 

Additional information on Al Fatah is provided in an interview 
with a young commando, Abu Bassam, at the organization's infor- 
mation center in Cairo. The interview was obtained by Barry Sheppard, 
former editor of the weekly socialist newspaper The Militant, and 
Fred Halstead, Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate, during 
a 1968 world political tour. It appeared in the September 20, 1968, 
issue of The Militant 

'"We must make it clear,' Abu Bassam told us, 'that there is a 
difference between Zionism and Judaism. Our aim is not to eliminate 
the Jewish people. Before 1948 we lived in peace with Jewish people, 
and they will have equal rights without discrimination in a liberated 
Palestine 1 . . . 

"In discussing this point, Abu Bassam said he disagreed with state- 
ments made by some Arab leaders during the June 1967 war that 
the Arab objective was to 'drive the Jews into the sea.' The goal Al 
Fatah is fighting for is to rid Palestine of the Zionist control fastened 
upon it in 1948 and to repatriate the Palestinians who were forced 
to leave their homeland." 

A little-known aspect of Al Fatah's activities was described by the 
young commando in the interview: "There is racial discrimination 
inside Israel itself, with the European immigrants on top, the eastern 
Jewish immigrants, who are discriminated against, in a middle posi- 
tion, and the Arab residents on the bottom. We have a radio program, 
one hour each day, in Hebrew, directed to the Jewish people, appealing 
to them as brothers and exposing the racial discrimination and ex- 
ploitation that exists in Israel." 

Abu Bassam said that the organization began in 1958 as a move- 
ment for Palestinian national unity, after many Palestinians became 
convinced that they could win liberation only by their own efforts 
and that they could not rely on the Arab states. The organized armed 
struggle was launched in 1965 with only a handful of twenty com- 
mandos. The Arab states were far from welcoming this development, 
Abu Bassam pointed out: "The atmosphere in the Arab countries 
at this time was negative. We were called saboteurs and terrorists, 
without any political goals, by some of the Arab journalists and 
traditional leaders of the Palestinian people. Many of our comrades 
were jailed and tortured in Lebanon and Jordan. 

"Before the June 1967 war, the Jordanian government indirectly 
cooperated with Israel in the persecution of Al Fatah members. It 
is well known that the Jordanian police are connected with the CIA 
also. When the war began, 1,800 Al Fatah people were imprisoned 
in Jordan, while only ten were imprisoned in Israel. 

"When the Israelis occupied the West Bank in Jordan after the . . . 
war, they found Jordanian police papers that informed on Al Fatah 
members." 



The young spokesman said that everything changed after the June 
war and that Fatah, which did not recognize the truce and kept 
fighting, is now leading the resistance in the occupied territories. "We 
are enjoying material and moral support from all the Arab peoples 
now . . . Any of the Arab states that attacks us will be overthrown." 
Sheppard and Halstead concluded: "The key idea in the Al Fatah 
program is guerrilla warfare . . . Abu Bassam explained that Al 
Fatah doesn't take an explicitly socialist stand, although many of 
its leaders consider themselves socialists. But, he added, the bulk of 
the Al Fatah commandos are workers and students, and 'its thrust 
is progressive. The conservative classes now support us, but they 
will do so only to the point where they feel their interests are threatened. 

'"Al Fatah is part of the worldwide struggle against imperialism. 
We have good relations with the Cubans and with the Vietnamese. 
Some of our people have been trained in Vietnam by the NLF. We 
express full solidarity with the Vietnamese and Latin-American revo- 
lutions,' Abu Bassam said." 



Regimes of the Arab nations 



It appears paradoxical that on one side the revolutionary youth 
of the national liberation movements like Al Fatah criticize the Arab 
regimes for their demagogic stance against Israel, while Israel, on 
the other side, condemns the same regimes for "harboring" the guer- 
rillas. Israel pictures the Palestinian commandos as "terrorists" and 
"puppets" of "alien powers," while assaulting these "alien powers" in 
order to force them to reassert their control over the "puppets"! This 
flows from the contradictory role of the Arab governments themselves. 

The left-bourgeois regimes of Egypt and Syria have presently aligned 
themselves in international politics with the world colonial liberation 
movement and against imperialism. But they seek to hold back colo- 
nial revolution at home, fearing that the forces unleashed by the call 
for mass opposition to imperialism will go far beyond the present 
limits set by these regimes. 

Those who doubt whether there is such a thing as the Arab revo- 
lution will get a ready answer from the oil companies, the world 
bankers and investment houses, and the representatives of American 
and British imperialism who have sent their troops regularly to 
various Arab lands to safeguard holdings. Strikes, sweeping land 
reforms, wholesale nationalizations, civil war, revolutionary uprisings, 
and imperialist troop landings have marked the history of the Arab 
territories in the imperialist epoch since the first world war. 

The highlights since World War II include the overthrow of Egypt's 
King Farouk in 1952; the Algerian revolution which brought inde- 
pendence from France; upheavals in Jordan in 1955-56, spearheaded 
by Palestinian refugees; the Iraqi revolution and mass demonstrations 
in Lebanon during 1958; the stunning Suez Canal nationalization by 



Nasser in 1956; the support by Egypt and Syria for the Algerian, 
Cuban, and Vietnamese revolutions; their recognition of China; their 
denunciation of world imperialism and their refusal to become linked 
with U. S. -sponsored military pacts. 

Although the officers who established the military-bureaucratic regimes 
of Nasser, El Attasi (Syria), and al-Bakr (Iraq) expropriated im- 
perialist holdings, they did not definitively end the power of the old 
ruling classes and establish the rule of the aroused toiling classes. 
Thus they continually balance between right and left; between anti- 
imperialism and tendencies to compromise; between mass pressures 
and the interests of the liberal capitalists, the petty-bourgeois officer 
caste they come from, the government bureaucrats, and the new 
circles of enriched speculators and traders arising out of these layers. 

Instead of calling upon and organizing mass participation of workers, 
peasants, and students in the construction of a modern industrial, 
socialist society and a unified Arab people along revolutionary lines, 
the Nasser-type regimes introduce social reforms from above with 
tight bureaucratic controls to prevent the intervention of these masses. 
Opposition is suppressed, while Communists, radical students, unionists, 
and Jewish citizens are jailed. 

Typical of the Arab governments are the Iraqi spy scares, secret 
trials, mass imprisonments, and public hangings. This victimization 
of both Jews and Arabs flows from the instability of these regimes, 
their fear of the masses, their lack of heart for a real struggle. As 
a basis for Arab unity, the Nasserists substitute demagogic references 
to "Arab socialism," vague appeals to Islamic virtues, opportunist 
alliances with reactionaries like King Hussein and Shukairy, chau- 
vinistic agitation against the Jews, and hysterical but empty threats 
to "destroy Israel" in a "holy war." 

Their demagogy in turn plays into the hands of the Zionist rulers 
of Israel who know that the threats are empty and take advantage 
of the fear aroused among Jews to launch new "wars of survival." 
Zionism thus fans support for acquiring more territory to establish 
what is dubbed the "historic boundaries" of "Eretz Yisrael." The more 
chauvinistic Israeli parties, strengthened by the June war, openly 
claim Jordan, Sinai, and the Gulf of Aqaba as part of "historic Israel"; 
the moderate Labor-Zionists in charge of the government do their 
best to actually acquire this territory. 



Israel and world imperialism 



But Israel's role is not confined to its own expansionism. It must 
be placed in the global context of imperialist counterrevolution, spear- 
headed by the United States. This worldwide offensive has recently 
achieved ominous successes in places like Brazil, Indonesia, the Congo, 
Ghana, and Greece; it is waging genocidal war to crush the Vietnamese 



revolution. The massive anti-imperialist struggles that have raged 
through the Arab world and resulted in the overthrow of such impe- 
rialist creatures as King Farouk, Nuri Es-Said in Iraq, and the 
French colons in Algeria, constitute obstacles to the success of the 
imperialist war drive, no less than the mighty struggle of the Viet- 
namese and the intransigence of revolutionary Cuba. In this struggle 
Israel sides with imperialism. 

An obvious question cries out for an answer: How has it happened 
that Israel, which was avowedly established as a homeland for the 
long-suffering Jewish people, the perennial victims, exiled and perse- 
cuted for centuries and nearly exterminated during the unspeakable 
Nazi phase of German imperialism — how does it happen that this 
nation, of all nations, winds up as an oppressor and a partner of 
American imperialism against world revolution? Is it the fault of the 
Jewish people, as some conscience-stricken liberal Zionists like Rabbi 
J. L. Magnes or Martin Buber have asked, or is it the result of Zionist 
aims and ideology? Could it have been avoided? 

Other questions deserve to be raised in this connection: Is the pro- 
U. S. orientation of Israel a guarantee of, or a dangerous threat to, 
her survival? Are the present policies of the Israeli state securing a new 
life, or preparing a death trap, for the Jews? Can a community of 
2.5 million Jews ever be secure or prosperous as long as it confronts 
80 million members of a bitterly offended and hostile people, whose 
ultimate national unity, economic development, and military superiority 
will be achieved? Does the military drive to secure new borders have 
any limits, since each new frontier must create a boundary breeding 
the same tensions? Will bigger and bloodier "retaliations" lead to any 

settlement? 

Are there other policies that the Jewish workers and farmers could 
follow, if they were not gripped by Zionist ideology and its powerful 
institutions, which would serve their interests better and could win the 
friendship of the Arab peoples? Could such new policies help to inaugu- 
rate an internationalist, socialist fraternity throughout the Middle 
East and North Africa, and why haven't these policies at least been, 
tried by the "socialist" Labor-Zionist regimes? 

Partisans of the Zionist movement — especially left Zionists who 
assume a special responsibility to win left-wing support for Israel — 
promptly respond with questions of their own: Isn't Israel an inde- 
pendent, progressive state, practically socialist, composed largely of 
cooperative and collective institutions like the kibbutzim (collective 
farms), governed by a labor-party coalition, imbued with pioneer 
ideals, dedicated to achieving full social equality, friendly to the 
newly emerging nations, an outpost of enlightenment and democracy 
in the Middle East, but surrounded by reactionary Arab dictatorships, 
monarchs, and religious Imams calling for holy war against the Jews? 

How could Israel be serving the interests of Western imperialism 
when she merely seeks to be left in peace while building a progressive 
national homeland for the Jewish people that can act as a beacon of 
democracy, modern technology, and culture? Aren't the Arab leaders 



8 



really motivated basically by such things as desire tor revenge; fear 
that the good example of Israeli progress might spur Arab workers 
and peasants to overthrow their reactionary regimes; personal ambi- 
tion for power and riches; and an ungovernable streak of anti-Semitism? 
The Arabs have so much empty land; why can't they allow the Jews 
a little parcel of territory which they had neglected anyway? Isn't 
Israel forced into alliances with the imperialists, if only temporary, 
for the sake of sheer survival in the face of continued infiltration, 
sabotage, massive Arab mobilizations, and threats of extermination? 
What is so wrong with a Jew wanting a land of his own where he 
can be himself? 

In order to untangle the complex issues — and myths — underlying 
the posing of such questions, and to answer the questions themselves, 
we must examine the origins of Zionism and the history of its rela- 
tions with imperialism; the manner in which the state of Israel was 
established; its treatment of Arabs; and its actual class nature. 

The determination of Jewish people to see that a fascist holocaust 
never happens to them again, a determination which every revolu- 
tionist and socialist shares, plus the worldwide feelings of guilt and 
sympathy over what did happen to Jews under Nazism, have tended 
to obscure the origins of the state of Israel. But the core of Arab- 
Jewish hostilities, the Arab refugee problem itself, cannot be understood 
except in the light of this history. We will see that the problem involves 
not merely a few Arab refugees, but the virtual dispossession of an 
entire people. 



Zionism before Israel was established 

Historically, the yearning for Zion among the Jews was predom- 
inantly a question of religious identification. Most refugees from 
Russian and Polish anti-Semitism in the nineteenth century fled to 
Western Europe and especially to the United States. Zionism remained 
a minority tendency in Jewish communities until the coming of Hitler 
and the second world war. 

Politically organized Zionism was founded around the turn of the 
century. Credited as its founder is Theodor Herzl, a Viennese jour- 
nalist who was convinced by the blatant official anti-Semitism revealed 
in the French Dreyfus case that anti-Semitism could never be eradicated 
and was rooted in human nature, as long as the Jews had no home- 
land of their own. He petitioned the Turkish sultan, the czar, the 
kaiser, the British king, even the pope, to obtain support for a Jewish 
homeland in Palestine. (At one time, Herzl was willing to accept a 
temporary allotment of Uganda but was opposed by other sections 
of the Zionist organization.) In return for support, Herzl promised 
these potentates Jewish backing for their imperial aims in the Middle 
Kast. With I'lchve, the infamous czarist minister who had organized 
the Kishinev pogroms in 1902, Herzl went so far as to conclude 
i secret agreement to use the Zionist movement as a lever against 



9 



the Jewish socialists in return for Plehve's good influence with the 
sultan. 

Writing the German Duke of Baden in 1898, Herzl declared: "It 
is clear that the settlement of a neutral people on the shortest road 
to the East can be of immense importance for the German Orient 
policy. And what people is meant by that? That people which . . , 
is compelled nearly everywhere to join the revolutionary parties." 
In another letter, he wrote: "With the Jews a German cultural element 
will enter the East. The fact that the Zionist movement is headed 
by German writers even though of Jewish origin can serve as proof 
of this. The [Zionist] Congress language is German. The great major- 
ity of the Jews belong to the German culture. We need protection. 
German protection is therefore the best for us; we alone cannot 

do this." 

After Herzl's death the Zionists carried on his efforts to secure big- 
power protection in Palestine. 

Modern anti-Semitism is rooted in the world decline of capitalism, 
whose national boundaries, cutthroat competition, and lack of plan- 
ning restrict the productive forces of the world and squeeze out vulner- 
able nations and peoples who are too poor and weak to protect them- 
selves. In this respect Jews have common grounds with forces the 
world over who have no recourse in their anti-imperialist struggle 
for survival but to take the path of socialist revolution. 

For the Jews to try to create any sort of stable capitalist republic 
in the image of the classical capitalist states forged two or three 
hundred years ago was, and is, Utopian. But their attempts have 
served a realistic function in imperialist politics, which have exploited 
them down to the present period to divide and rule the Middle East. 

In 1917 the British issued the Balfour Declaration, which announced 
support for establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This was de- 
signed to win Jewish backing of Britain in the first world war. It was 
later revealed that Britain had earlier promised to support Arab inde- 
pendence in the same region in return for Arab support during the 
war. And, in the Sykes-Picot treaty, the British agreed to share the 
same area with France! These schemes were revealed by the Bolshe- 
viks, who discovered copies of the secret agreements in the czar's 
vaults. It was consequently not a double- but a triple-cross which 
generated the eventual collision of Jew and Arab and which, until 
1948, enabled Britain to wield power over a divided Middle East. 

To make his promise to the Jews sound plausible, Lord Balfour had 
added the clause that nothing would be done to prejudice the rights of 
"existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." This was Balfour's 
allusion to the Palestine Arabs — who outnumbered the Palestine Jews 
about eight to one at the time! When the League of Nations finally 



10 



legalized the spoils of the victors of World War I, Britain received a 
mandate to establish the Jewish National Homeland she had promised. 
From the very beginning, the Zionists supported the British regime 
and its mandate in Palestine. This came just at a time when the Arabs 
were awakening to national consciousness. Indeed, there can be no 
doubt that the British overlords, many of them by their own admission 
deeply prejudiced against Jews, favored Zionism precisely to meet this 
new threat of Arab nationalism. They hoped to guard their empire 
with a "western-oriented" population upon whose loyalty they thought 
they could rely, and until the end of World War II, they were not mis- 
taken. At the same time, the British armed the most reactionary Arab 
lords in the region to suppress peasants and workers. 

The Zionists mobilized support for the mandate. David Ben-Gurion, 
former prime minister of Israel, was one of the principal leaders and 
spokesmen of the social democratic Labor-Zionist movement. At the 
nineteenth Zionist Congress in 1935, Ben-Gurion declared, "Whoever 
betrays Great Britain betrays Zionism." Another time, Ben-Gurion 
said: "We cannot be oblivious to the many interests which Britain has 
in the Mediterranean. Fortunately for us, British world interests arc 
essentially the preservation of peace, and therefore in the strengthening 
of the British Empire it is not we alone who see an important guaran- 
tee for the strengthening of international peace. England will have 
bases of defense on sea and on land in the Jewish State and in the 
British corridor. For many years the Jewish State will stand in need 
of British military protection and protection entails a measure of de- 
pendence." (See "Zionism and the Lion" in Zionism, Israel and the 
Arabs.) 

The Zionists thus insisted that they were better friends of British 
imperialism than the Arabs. Menachem Ussishkin, late head of the 
Jewish National Fund, wrote in 1936: "A Palestine which is wholly 
Arab means that sooner or later Great Britain will be forced to leave 
just as it is gradually leaving Egypt. A Palestine which is largely Jewish 
means a political alliance cordiale . . . between the Jewish people and 
the English." {Palestine Review, July 3, 1936. ) 

This Zionist attitude served to strengthen the Arab landlords. So did 
the consistent Jewish opposition to Arab demands for independence 
and for a national assembly for Palestine. The Zionists recognized 
that independence for Palestine would have halted their dream of con- 
trolling the area, inasmuch as they were a minority. To be sure, the 
Jewish economy improved the life of both Arabs and Jews but in an 
unequal way, because the Jewish standard of living, quite low for 
many of the settlers, remained about three times that of the Arabs. 

However, from the very first, the Zionists were determined to build 
an exclusively Jewish economy. Ben-Gurion told the Elected Assembly 
of the Jews of Palestine in March 1932: "Nobody must think that we 
have become reconciled to the existence of non-Jewish labor in the vil- 
lages. We will not forego, I say we will not forego, one piece of work 
in the country." H. Frumkin, an economist belonging to Ben-Gurion's 



. 



11 



party, expressed the same idea when he wrote: "Every new industry 
is a blessing only if Jewish labor dominates it. Otherwise, it is a calam- 
ity for the Jewish community." {Jewish Labor, p. 113.) 

The large General Organization of Jewish Workers in Palestine, 
which is the full name of the Histadrut, the powerful labor federation 
to which most Israeli workers belong today, included only Jewish 
workers and refused to organize Arab workers and extend aid to Arab 
peasants. (Israeli Arabs can belong to Histadrut today.) How did 
"socialist" Zionists rationalize this divisive and anti-internationalist 
policy in Palestine? Let us listen to Ben-Gurion again, speaking in 
1938: "Our right to Palestine is not the right of the Palestine Jews but 
of the entire Jewish people which is scattered the world over and of 
which only 3 per cent live in Palestine . . . For the rights of the Jews 
in Palestine are different from the rights of the Arabs; Palestine Arabs 
have the rights proper to all inhabitants of the country. Armenian and 
Ethiopian inhabitants of Palestine are entitled to the same rights even 
though their numbers are small. However, the Arabs of Syria, Iraq, 
or Saudia have no rights in Palestine. On the other hand, the rights 
which the Jews have in Palestine is their right not as inhabitants of 
the country, but as Jews, whether they live in Palestine or in any other 
country. The fundamental Jewish right — is in reality the right in Pal- 
estine of non-Palestine Jews, the right of immigration . . . The Jewish 
and Arab claims are not equal with regard to Palestine." ("Zionism 
and the Lion" in Zionism, Israel and the Arabs. ) 

Ben-Gurion based this truly extraordinary, absentee-ownership claim 
to Palestine upon the Bible: "The Bible is our Mandate." For the time 
being, however, until 1948, the Zionists would invoke the British man- 
date as well; the latter came equipped with an army. 



The Zionists seize Arab land 

The Zionists opposed agrarian reforms that would give land to the 
fellahin (peasants) who worked it or even protect their tenancy of it. 
Where the fellah was unprotected, it was easier to buy his land from 
the rich effendi (landlord), who considered it part of his feudal domain. 
Thus many Arabs were deprived of the land they worked, legally of 
course, and with all due process! The contract given to the Jewish set- 
tlers by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which purchased the land, 
contained a clause forbidding future lease or sale to Arabs. 

Some examples of Jewish colonizations arc given by Joseph Weitz, 
a prominent leader of the Zionist establishment in Israel and head of 
the Land and Afforestation Department of the JNF, in The Struggle 
for the Land (1950). Weitz writes by way of introduction: "The strug- 
gle for the redemption of the land means simply this — the liberation 
of the land from the hand of the stranger, from the chains of wilder- 
ness; the struggle for its conquest by settlement, and last but not least, 
the redemption of the settler, both as a human being and as a Jew . . ." 



12 



This is reminiscent of the white man "purchasing" land from the Ameri- 
can Indians. 

Weitz describes a beautiful farm in the Kfar Etzion area, with large 
buildings, orchards, and cisterns, which belonged to a German mis- 
sionary society and had been leased to Christian Arabs: "It was emi- 
nently suitable for a collective group [and] seemed to have been de- 
signed for that very purpose ... It proved by no means an easy task 
to transfer the property into Jewish hands. The resourcefulness and 
determination of the JNF officials, however, were equal to all the ob- 
stacles and within a year the German farm became the property of the 
Jewish people." (p. 180.) 

In another instance, again in Kfar Etzion, attempts were made to 
secure possession of land owned by an American who had given his 
rights to the JNF. While the village sheiks were willing to give up the 
area for a cash payment, the younger peasants opposed it: "The JNF 
officials, wise in the ways of the East, knew that the negotiations might 
be dragged on interminably and [the JNF] resolved on drastic mea- 
sures. Jewish rights must be established by the very fact of occupation! 
. . . One night the settling force — it was no less — comprising the set- 
tlers, their neighbors, and volunteers from elsewhere, foregathered in 
Ein Tzurim, and before daybreak they had occupied the site, fencing 
in the land and erecting their huts with all despatch. The new group 
was affiliated to the Hashomer Hatzair movement." (p. 186.) 

If these acts of land robbery, miniscule compared to the wholesale 
expulsion of the Arabs later, were proclaimed "in the name of the Jew- 
ish people" (who were mostly absent and not consulted at the time), 
it is not hard to see how the Arab reactionary forces would be able 
to channel resentments against this very people as a whole. In sum, 
the JNF "purchased" only about 23 per cent of the land from tenants, 
whose "profits" averaged around thirteen pounds per sale. The remain- 
ing 77 per cent of the land came from the landlords. (See "Middle East 
at the Crossroads.") 

There was also a Jewish boycott of Arab labor and goods. The 
prosperous Jewish citrus orchards were picketed by Jewish organiza- 
tions, which kept Arab laborers out by force. Arab agricultural pro- 
duce was boycotted by the Jewish consumers and sometimes destroyed, 
enabling Jewish farmers to sell their goods at two or three times the 
price of Arab goods. When serious labor shortages developed on the 
Jewish lands, schools would be shut early and seminarians, office 
workers, teachers, and students were mobilized to go into the fields, 
so that none of the Arab workers, suffering from unemployment, could 
have the jobs and "Jewish labor" could stay "redeemed." 

It is not difficult to see why most of the Arab workers and fellahin 
of Palestine were not friendly to the Zionist "conquest of the land." In 
every way the Zionist colonizer confronted the Arab as a foreign in- 
vader, who brought his capital and advanced technology into the land 
under the auspices of British imperialism, while the latter oppressed 
Arab attempts to better their conditions. The Zionists became a buffer 



13 



between imperialism and the exploited Arabs. The imperialists did not 
have to take responsibility for the lack of laws protecting the fellah's 
tenancy of land or for the complete absence of any elected representa- 
tive body in Palestine (except for the Jewish one). They pointed to the 
Jews who opposed land reform and independence. 

When a foreign company, seeking to establish itself in the country, 
appointed a Jew as general manager, then anti-imperialist actions by 
the Arabs were denounced as anti-Semitic. If the British killed thou- 
sands of Arabs, as they did during the uprisings in 1936-39 which 
held down half the British army, it was not to maintain their impe- 
rialist interests — it was to "protect" the Jews. 



Hitler's extermination program 

In East Europe, the center of Jewish culture, where most of the Jews 
were workers and poor middle-class elements, the leading intellectuals 
and radicalized workers looked mainly to socialism as the path to 
their liberation from anti Semitism and the ghetto. They regarded Zion- 
ism as a Utopian illusion. 

Consequently, during Hitler's rise to power, the Western "democracies" 
were loath to admit these radical Jews as immigrants, even if they were 
fleeing extinction. Washington and London found excuses for turning 
their backs while Hitler strove to eliminate the Jews— just as they tol- 
erated German rearmament in the same period, in the hope that Hitler 
would crush the Soviet Union and East European Communism. 

For their part, the Zionists refrained from launching an all-out cam- 
paign to force Western countries to open their gates to the Jews. They 
didn't want to appear importunate to the powers they were seeking as 
sponsors of the National Homeland. Moreover, immigration to the 
West would destroy the Zionist goal. Ben-Gurion warned the Zionist 
executive in a letter dated December 17, 1938: "The fate of Jews in 
Germany is not an end but a beginning. Other anti-Semitic states will 
learn from Hitler. Millions of Jews face annihilation, the refugee prob- 
lem has assumed worldwide proportions, and urgency. Britain is try- 
ing to separate the issue of the refugees from that of Palestine ... If 
Jews will have to choose between the refugees, saving Jews from con- 
centration camps, and assisting a national museum in Palestine, mercy 
will have the upper hand and the whole energy of the people will be 
channeled into saving Jews from various countries. Zionism will be 
struck off the agenda not only in world public opinion, in Britain and 
the U.S.A., but elsewhere in Jewish public opinion. If we allow a sep- 
aration between the refugee problem and the Palestine problem, we are 
risking the existence of Zionism." (See The Other Israel. ) 

The fury of Hitler's extermination program fell heaviest on this lead- 
ing section of world Jewry in East Europe. Stalin later eliminated what 
Yiddish cultural and political leadership there remained. This physical 



14 



liquidation of a revolutionary and socialist Jewish working class and 
leadership and the failure of the socialist revolution to save the Jews 
from the fascist holocaust, helped to turn Jewish sentiment heavily in 
favor of the Zionist "solution." 



Israel, the 1948 war 



After World War II the Zionists began to press for independence as 
a Jewish state. The British had used the Jewish colonizers for their own 
interests, but they did not relish having a strong Jewish state in the 
Middle East. Supporting now the Arabs then the Zionists, they incurred 
the wrath of both. Had the Jewish settlers linked their struggle against 
the British with the aspirations of all the exploited peoples in the area, 
the outcome could have been quite different. Instead, they terrorized 
the Arabs and set out to build an exclusively Jewish and capitalist 
state no longer oriented to the declining imperialism of the British but 
to the new and more powerful world "peace-keeping" of the United 
States. 

The British, meanwhile, unloaded their "mandate" on the United 
Nations. Here the Middle East became a victim, as did many other 
places on the globe, of the "Big Three" division of the world into 
"spheres of influence" agreed upon at Yalta and Potsdam. In November 
1947 the UN partitioned Palestine into two separate states, one Jewish 
and the other Arab, although no Arab agreement to this plan had 
been secured. With Indochina (which Stalin had promised to France), 
Korea (divided in half), Greece (promised to Britain), Palestine became 
one of many half-buried time bombs whose explosions constitute the 
main crises of the postwar era. 

The Kremlin's seal of approval on these deals doesn't make them 
less reprehensible. Earlier, Stalin's "peaceful coexistence" policies had 
led to the betrayal of the revolutionary movements that erupted in 
Europe and Asia immediately after the war. In 1947 he ignored the 
national rights of the Palestine Arabs and pushed for UN partition. 
Later events show that the readiness of imperialism and its friends to 
accept such favors from Moscow at that time was matched only by 
their subsequent ingratitude. 

On May 15, 1948, the provisionaljewish government proclaimed 
Israeli statehood. The same day the Arab armies of King Farouk, 
King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan, and Nuri Es-Said of Iraq — armies 
which hud been organized by the British — attacked. The attack was 
planned at a secret meeting in Syria with Major I. C. Clayton, the liai- 
son officer between the Arab League and the British Foreign Office. 
(See The Other Israel.) 

The Jews, under Zionist leadership, fought for the survival of 
a Jewish state, rather than an independent Palestine. In his The 
Philosophy of the Revolution, Nasser describes how he felt that 



15 



the war was an imperialist plot, designed to subdue the struggle 
against the Farouk and Nuri regimes and, at the same time, to bring 
the British back into Palestine in the role of "pacifier." Israel's victory 
was not a defeat of "the Arabs" as such, but of the strategy of British 
imperialism and its manipulation of the armies of the Arab feudal 
monarchs. 

When the armistice was declared and the smoke cleared, the Arab 
state the UN established on one portion of Palestine had disappeared. 
A secret agreement between Israeli Premier Ben-Gurion and King 
Abdullah of Trans-Jordan, the "friendly enemies" as they were known 
to people familiar with realities of Mideast diplomacy, ratified a divi- 
sion of that territory whereby Israel wound up with one-half more than 
the original territory alloted her. Trans-Jordan, now renamed Jordan, 
swallowed up the other half of the Arab Palestinian state, receiving 
the West Bank area and half of Jerusalem, areas seized by Israel 
in June 1967. The "settlement" was guaranteed shortly thereafter by 
the 1950 Tripartite Agreement of the "disinterested" powers — the United 
States, England and France. 



Flight of the Palestinian Arabs 



As for the Palestinian Arabs, huddling in several widely separated, 
miserable refugee camps outside the new borders of Israel, they had 
lost not only their lands, their homes, their businesses, but their exis- 
tence as a nation. It is this nation that the armed movements like Al 
Fatah are struggling to liberate today. 

An initial offer by Israel in 1951 to allow the return of 100,000 
Arabs was soon withdrawn when Zionist hard-liners organized pro- 
tests against it. The Israeli regime subsequently maintained that the 
Arabs lost all their rights when they "voluntarily" fled during the Arab 
invasion in 1948. The invading Arab armies allegedly broadcast 
radio appeals to the Palestinians to leave in order to make the "exter- 
mination of the Jews" possible without Arab civilian casualties. Israel 
insists that the refugees be resettled in other Arab countries which have 
lots of room and which contain, after all, ". . . their own kind." 

What is the truth about the Palestinian Arab flight of 1948? 

Hal Draper describes this event and the subsequent Israeli land-grab 
in two articles written in 1956-57 and reprinted in Zionism, Israel and 
the Arabs, edited by Draper in 1967. He cites Ben-Gurion's position 
as of the winter of 1948, before the Arab exodus: 

"Indeed, the vast majority of the Palestinian Arabs still refuse to 
join in this war despite the combined pressure of the Mufti and his 
gangs, of the Arab rulers . . . The Arab villages have in their over- 
whelming majority kept aloof from the struggle. Were it not for the 
terrorization by the Arab bands and the incitement of their British sup- 
porters, the Arab people of Palestine would have soon resumed peaceful 
relations with their Jewish neighbors." (Palestine and the Middle East, 
January-February, 1948.) 



16 



"This was written," Draper points out, "before the land-grab had 
begun. It was only later that Israeli propagandists started putting forth 
a different version . . . The Palestine Arab population did not flee out 
of sympathy with and in cooperation with the Arab invaders, but out 
of fear of them and of the war." 

Ben-Gurion's words call another point into question also. Zionist 
propagandists point to the alleged role of the reactionary Mufti, Haj 
Amin El Husseini, the religious head of the Palestine Moslems, who was 
pro-Hitler, in order to paint the Palestinian Arabs as deluded followers 
of a vicious Nazi criminal. Ben-Gurion here testifies otherwise. In this 
connection, Draper quotes another Zionist spokesman, Yaakov 
Shimoni, writing in the same publication as Ben-Gurion: ". . . the fact 
remains that the bulk of the Arab population has so far kept aloof 
from attacks on the Jews. Up to the present, the instigators of the dis- 
orders have been unable to enlist the mass of either the fellahin or the 
urban Arabs ... The hopes of the Mufti and the AHE [Arab Higher 
Executive] have thus far been disappointed because although they in- 
stigated and initiated the attack, they have been unable to deliver the 
goods: the mass of the Arab people of Palestine have failed to rise at 
their orders and have proved reluctant and incapable of fighting the 
Jews." 

It is true that, anticipating the storm clouds about to burst, the rich 
upper class and most of the well-to-do Arab families left Palestine early 
in 1948. But the poor Arabs, the workers and peasants — that is, the 
overwhelming majority of the refugees — did not flee until after the in- 
famous massacre at Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, a month before 
Israeli independence. This outrage was a turning point in the Arab 

flight. 

The Arab village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem was especially noted 
by its Jewish neighbors for its friendly, peaceful relations and for its 
firm rejection of demands to cooperate with outside Arab forces. This 
was the village selected by the Irgun Zvai Leumi, the chief Jewish 
chauvinist-terrorist group, for a massacre in which 250 Arabs perished, 
including 100 women and children. About 150 bodies were thrown 
down a cistern. The houses were destroyed. The few survivors were 
marched triumphantly through Jerusalem streets. 

Although the official armed forces, the Haganah, condemned the mas- 
sacre, the Irgun produced a document signed by the local Haganah 
commander proving he knew of the planned attack. The special com- 
mando unit, the Palmach, even provided reinforcements to cover their 
retreat when armed Arabs approached the village to fight back. This 
semi-official toleration of the Irgun, which carried out bombings, 
hangings, and terror raids against both Arabs and the British, and 
boasted of it, was not terminated until September 1948, when the Stern 
gang had assassinated the UN mediator, Count Bernadotte. Massa- 
cring an Arab village remained within tolerable limits to Zionist leaders 
such as Ben-Gurion. 

The aim of the fascist-like Irgun, Draper points out, was to have an 



,! 



17 



"Araberrein" Israel, an Israel "clean" of Arabs, like Hitler's aim of a 
"Judenrein" Germany. The main leader of the Irgun, Menachem Begin, 
who became the chief spokesman for the right-wing Israeli party, Herut, 
was taken into the Israeli coalition cabinet for the first time during the 
June war in 1967, and he is still there! 

In The Revolt, Story of the Irgun (1951), Begin celebrates Deir 
Yassin: "The legend of Deir Yassin helped us in particular in the sav- 
ing of Tiberias and the conquest of Haifa ... All the Jewish forces 
proceeded to advance through Haifa like a knife through butter. The 
Arabs began fleeing in panic, shouting 'Deir Yassin' . . . Arabs 
throughout the country . . . were seized with limitless panic and started 
to flee for their lives. This mass flight soon developed into a maddened 
uncontrollable stampede." 

The Arab flight became general and turned into a torrent of panic- 
stricken Arab villagers and workers, leaving, not in accordance with 
some thought-out "tactical" plan or "conspiracy" in cahoots with the 
Arab armies, but often at a moment's notice. As Draper points out, 
the Palestinian Arabs had no way of knowing who would wind up to 
be the "official" leaders of Israel, the "responsible" Labor-Zionists and 
the Haganah which they controlled, or the chauvinistic Irgun. 

Arthur Koestler described Haganah's propaganda to the Arabs: "By 
that time Haganah was using not only its radio station, but also 
loudspeaker vans which blared their sinister news from the vicinity of 
the Arab shuks (market places). They warned the Arab population to 
keep clear of the billets of the foreign mercenaries who had infiltrated 
into town, warned them to send their women and children away before 
the new contingents of savage Iraquis arrived, promised them safe- 
conducts and escorts to Arab territory, and hinted at terrible conse- 
quences if their warnings were disregarded." (Promise and Fulfillment, 
1949.) 

British correspondent Jon Kimche, who was a supporter of Israel, 
wrote: ". . . the Irgun practice of looting Arab homes and shops was 
soon explained away and later justified as ministering to the needs 
of Jewish evacuees who had lost their homes and their all as a result 
ofthefourmonthsofattackfromJaffa.lt was perhaps natural, though 
it was certainly detestable, that before long the rest of the Jewish sol- 
diers of the Haganah and the Palmach should join in the orgy of 
looting and wanton destruction which hangs like a black pall over 
almost all the Jewish military successes. It could have been stopped 
by firm action at the outset. But it soon became a practice for which 
there was always a material incentive, a sophisticated justification, 
and an excuse." (Seven Fallen Pillars— The Middle East 1945-1952, 
1953.) 

The great bulk of the Palestinian Arabs were robbed, terrorized, and 
expelled from Israel in 1948 through no fault of their own. They did 
not, as Zionists allege, heed foreign armies or "broadcasts," they did 
not follow the Mufti, they did not rise up in a holy war. 



18 



Victimization of the Arabs after 1948 

The Israeli government has refused to disclose its records of the 
land and property taken over. A UN Conciliation Commission for 
Palestine valued it at $336 million in 1950. Over 80 per cent of the 
total land acquired by Israel, one-fourth of it cultivable, came from 
Arab lands, including, to be sure, Bedouin lands in the Negev desert 
to the south. Tho total amount of cultivable land taken from the Arabs, 
4.5 million dunams (one dunam equals about one-quarter of an acre), 
came to two-and-a-half times the land owned by the Jews before 1948. 
(See Don Peretz, Israel and the Palestine Arabs, 1958. ) 

Whole cities fell into Jewish hands: Jaffa, Acre, Ramleh, Lydda. 
Additional Arab holdings left behind, according to Peretz' estimations, 
included: 388 towns and villages; large parts of 94 cities and towns 
which held almost one-quarter of all the buildings in Israel; 10,000 
shops, businesses, and stores. The fruit obtained from formerly Arab 
land, including many citrus groves, earned 10 per cent of Israel's 
foreign currency in 1951. The third largest export, after citrus and 
diamonds, was provided by the olive groves, 95 per cent of which had 
belonged to Arabs. 

Arabs who did not flee were also victimized by the Israeli regime. 
Peretz shows that 40 per cent of the land held by these residents was 
confiscated through a series of "Absentee Property" laws, worded to 
apply to all citizens but directed in practice exclusively at the remain- 
ing Arabs. Some 300,000 dunams were taken away in this manner. 
The key provision of these laws, whose chronological evolution and 
complicated legalisms have been unraveled by Dr. Peretz, was to de- 
fine a "Palestine citizen who had left his normal or habitual place of 
residence" as "absentee." Thus, if an Arab and his family had gone 
only to the next village to escape the fighting, he would qualify as an 
"absentee" — even if the other village was within Israeli borders. In 
many cases Arab villagers, bereft of their lands, were forced to hire 
themselves out to nearby settlements and wound up working as hired 
hands on their own land, which had been given or leased to the Jewish 
settlers. 

John Cogley, editor of the liberal Catholic publication, The Common- 
weal, visited the Arab Catholic village of Ikrit in 1954. After waiting 
for two years for a promised return to their village, Cogley reported, 
the people of Ikrit, Israeli citizens, took the matter to court. It ruled 
in their favor. "But before they could move back to their homes, 
Israeli airplanes dropped bombs on their abandoned town, destroying 
everything. Whether from malice or not, no one can say, but the date 
chosen for the destruction of this wholly Christian village was Decem- 
ber 25. . . . [Last December] Kafr-Biram, another Catholic village, 
was destroyed ... In both cases, the reason offered for the destruction 
of the Catholic villages was 'military security.'" (The Commonweal, 
January 22, 1954.) 



I 



19 

Draper points out that in adopting the Absentee Property Law of 
March 1950, the fifth set of continuously amended regulations, the 
Knesset turned down a series of amendments, offered mainly by Arab 
deputies, to provide "only an elementary measure of fair dealing. 
Among these were amendments to protect the land of Arabs ( 1 ) who 
were legal citizens of Israel, with an identity card, and had not aided 
the enemy; (2) who had never fled the country; (3) who had been 
expelled from their villages when these were conquered by the Israeli 
troops. . . ." These laws were so broad that one of the Arab Knesset 
members, Tufiq Tubi, was legally classified as an "absentee." 

In a series of articles in the Israeli daily Haaretz in January 1954, 
Moshe Keren summarized what had occurred: ". . . here was a case 
of wholesale robbery with a legal coating. Hundreds of thousands of 
dunams of land were taken away from the Arab minority— I am not 
talking here of the refugees — through a whole variety of legal devices." 
He asks how the Jewish people could have done such a thing to "a 
helpless minority." "Even more depressing is the fact that it was pre- 
cisely those groups who presume to establish a new society free from 
injustice and exploitation— the kibbutzim, in other words— who 
marched in the vanguard of the seizure campaign, and that foremost 
among them were the self-styled fighters for the idea of absolute jus- 
tice—the kibbutzim affiliated with Mapam— whose representatives in 
the Knesset are now missing no opportunity to condemn the govern- 
ment for its discriminatory policy towards the Arabs." 

The Arabs in Israel were reduced to second-class citizens under mili- 
tary control, excluded from decent jobs, from trade union membership 
(until later), from genuine political rights, and subjected to repeated 
acts of horrifying violence. The June 13, 1967, Christian Science Moni- 
tor recalled two notorious incidents right after the six-day war: "Israeli 
security forces have on occasion dealt ruthlessly with Arabs more 
recently than 1948. Two incidents in particular are remembered fear- 
fully by Arabs. The first was in the Jordanian border village of Qibya 
in October 1953, when Israeli regular 'soldiers killed 53 men, women 
and children in retaliation for the killing of an Israeli mother and her 
two children, apparently by a saboteur from Jordan, The second was 
at Kafr Qasim, an Arab village within Israel, in October 1956, during 
the 100-hour Sinai war of that year. Israeli border police shot and 
killed 51 Israeli Arabs, including women and children, who were re- 
turning from the fields at the end of the day's work and were unwit- 
tingly in breach of a curfew order . . ." 

The scandal of Qibya forced Ben-Gurion into his first "retirement" 
from the government. The details of the bloody event at Kafr Qasim 
were revealed in Israeli court testimony during the trials of the 
officers involved. They show that this incident is comparable to 
the My Lai atrocity by United States forces in Vietnam. (See Sabri 
Jiriyis, The Arabs in Israel and Hal Draper, ed., Zionism, Israel 
and the Arabs, p. 187.) 



20 

A similarly horrifying case surfaced after the six-day war.* This 

concerned the Jordanian village of Qalqilya, which had been cut off 

from its lands in 1948. These were taken over by a Jewish kibbutz 

in 1950. In 1956 Israel blamed the invasion of the Suez, which it 

undertook with Britain and France, on fedayeen "infiltrators" from 

such places as Qalqilya. Harry Ellis offered an explanation in Israel 

and the Middle East (1957): "Impoverished and embittered by the loss 

of their Fields, many of the men of Qalqilya had taken to infiltrating 

across the border, at first to steal fruit from their own Fields, later, as 

the weary months dragged on, to commit sabotage and in some 

cases — though they would not say this — to kill. I spoke to one villager 

who had crossed the border with his 17-year-old son. The son was 

killed, and the father made it back with a small cache of oranges. 

One week later, when the flour bought with the oranges was gone, 

the father went back to Israel. He was shot in the legs and crawled 

back to Qalqilya. He vowed to me that he would cross the border 

again as soon as he was well. To these men, the police of Jordan 

and the soldiers of the Arab Legion were enemies second only to the 

Israelis. The government of Jordan had clamped down hard on in- 

Filtrators, seeking to halt the Israeli reprisal raids which inFiltration 

had brought. Thus inFiltration had been made a crime by Jordan, 

punishable by prison terms up to three years, and dozens of Qalqilyans 

had been arrested by Jordanian police and soldiers." 

A few days after the six-day war, the June 12, 1967, New York Times 
reported: "There seems to be little doubt that the 60,000 inhabitants of 
the three big United Nations camps around Jericho were attacked by 
planes on the second day of the fighting . . . Senior UN ofFicials believe 
that a pattern of expulsion is emerging. They say the Israelis appear to 
be concentrating on pushing out inhabitants of such frontier villages as 
Qalqilya and Tulkarm as well as the inhabitants of the big refugee 
camps . . . Israeli loudspeakers warned the inhabitants, 'You have 
two hours to leave. After that we cannot guarantee your safety.'" 
According to a report in the June 29 New York Times, much of 
Qalqilya was destroyed after the fighting was over. Twenty years after 
the establishment of Israel, her army is still blowing up Arab villages 
and expelling their inhabitants in the quest for "national security"! 
What a monument to the six million Jews who died under Hitler! 



Class composition of Israel 

The Zionist coloration of the state of Israelmakes it appear to some 
as though its leaders act on behalf of a whole people. However, the 
Zionist left who were instrumental in building the institutions which 



1 



• See Zionism and the Israeli State, a Radical Education Project pamphlet by Larry Hochman. 



21 



led to the founding of Israel — even the leftmost "Marxist" Zionists — 
first envisioned building a capitalist Israel with many welfare-state 
features. They thought that when the "ingathering of the exiles" was 
completed, a new "Jewish national type" could be created that would 
not be primarily petty bourgeois. Only after most of world Jewry was 
"ingathered" to Israel, they argued, would the stage of the struggle for 
socialism be at hand. 

By the admission of Israel's most conscious "left" socialist-Zionist 
defenders, the Mapam (United Workers Party) and its worldwide orga- 
nization Hashomer Hatzair, Israel is a capitalist country with heavy 
public ownership. After citing all the economic sectors that are publicly 
owned, their 1965 introductory handbook explains: "It should be 
noted that almost everything connected with large profits is primarily 
in private hands: banking, commerce, metropolitan real-estate, light 
industry, citrus growing." How influential is this "large proFif private 
sector? Is it subordinate to the public sector or is the latter, in fact, 
an instrument for bigger private profits? 

Ya'akov Chazan, a leading Mapam spokesman, declared at a Na- 
tional Council meeting of his party held January 6-7, 1967: "The 
gravest crime committed ... in the development of Israel's economic 
and social system has been the distortion of human socio-economic 
values. . . . Instead of reinforcing these qualities and trends of an ad- 
vanced, pioneering nature, license was given to self-advancement, 
careerism, and self-enrichment ... to the baser aspects of bourgeois 
proFiteering . . . The greatest peril confronting us now is unemploy- 
ment. The threat of its growth is being utilized by the employers to 
strengthen their own position through the threat of further discharges 
and layoffs, and in this way they seek to break down workers' soli- 
darity and force the workers to acquiesce to lowered standards of 
living and increased exploitation . . . The situation is more critical 
than it seems, since unemployment is not uniformly distributed through- 
out the country, but has hit certain sectors more than others, in par- 
ticular the development towns and certain Arab communities." (Devel- 
opment towns are mainly occupied by Oriental Jews from Yemen, Iraq, 
Algeria, etc. ) 

Yisrael Pinhasi, one of the central leaders of Mapam's kibbutz feder- 
ation and a recent spokesman in the United States, was more speciFic 
on the policies of the ruling class in Israel in an article appearing in 
the November 1966 issue of Israel Horizons, the American magazine 
of Mapam. Pinhasi asked: "Why did it happen that, in spite of the huge 
capital investment directed especially to industry and mainly to private 
industry, it was not possible to set up a planned industry, based on 
advanced technology and efFiciency, and with an ability to compete in 
the world market? . . . [Finance Minister] Sapir . . . seeks a solution 
which would make Israel's industry profitable and competitive only 
by attacking the wage earner ... In the wage-cutting and the unem- 
ployment aspects of Sapir's plan, we saw an anti-social trend — a plan 
to assist again the capitalist line within Israel. In this case the freezing 



22 



of taxes and privileges to exporters might provide for the capitalist 
class a source of riches by exploiting public resources." 

The privilege of the private ownership of the means of production 
in "progressive" Israel, which results in lack of planning, profiteering, 
and continuing dependence on foreign cash, is paid for by squeezing 
the workers, especially the poorest and most discriminated against. 

The Labor-Zionist parties tied to the ruling coalition defend the cur- 
rent stage of "ingathering," i.e., the bourgeois stage. Mapam does not 
call for establishing a workers' state and socialism in Israel, but rather, 
in the words of Pinhasi, for "economic sacrifices on the part of the 
employers, companies, owners of capital as well as on the part of the 
workers." 

In his preparatory theses for the fourth Mapam party congress in 
1963, Meir Ya'ari, the party's general secretary and its most vener- 
ated and influential leader, pointed to "the growing social differentia- 
tion and the rise of parasitic elements in our economy and society . . . 
The advocates of capitalist liberalism in our country try to evade 
payment of direct taxes, and place the major burden squarely on the 
shoulders of the consumer, the farmer and the less privileged . . . Not 
one of them raises his voice against high interest speculation which 
exploits the producer and enriches the great many banks of our coun- 
try .. . It is the anti-pioneer regime which wastes . . . the achievement 
of the workers and farmer ... so as to guarantee the parasitic exis- 
tence of a small minority at the expense of the great exploited majority." 

Ya'ari itemized what he believed to be Israel's central shortcomings. 
He denounced the job-trust bureaucracy that dominates Histadrut, the 
central trade-union federation to which 90 per cent of the workers be- 
long. Histadrut channels exorbitant profits to middlemen, he declared, 
while preventing and breaking more strikes than it calls. 

Ya'ari attacked the profits of the Bank of Israel. He detailed the low 
wage levels of at least half the population and pointed out, ". . . most 
production workers now belong to the Oriental communities. To be 
quite frank we are concerned not only about freezing wages but with 
deepening the ethnic differences in the country. This social exploitation 
helps hold the Oriental communities, one half of the population, in their 
present state of economic, social and cultural discrimination . . ." 
Meanwhile, "A considerable number of our millionaires have demon- 
strated their private initiative mainly in schemes to get rich at the 
expense of national and public capital." 

Ya'ari compared the discrimination against Oriental Jews to that 
against Arabs themselves: "The common denominator of thetwu prob- 
lems is that the Arab workers must live in a hut or hovel on the out- 
skirts of Jewish towns . . . and the worker of the Sephardic (Oriental) 
community is packed into a crowded slum . . ." 

"We are witnesses to the desperate struggle being fought by slum 
dwellers in Tel Aviv whose land was sold from under them at exor- 
bitant prices to a corporation which plans an entertainment center on 
the site of their homes, costing millions and perhaps tens of millions 



23 



of pounds. This land is the stage for a devil's dance of land specula- 
tion involving astronomical sums. Slums have been destroyed with the 
help of eviction notices. Policemen were recruited to aid the land specu- 
lators in order to evict the dwellers into the streets. Almost incredible! 
Women and children tried, empty-handed, to defend their homes against 
the policemen and their clubs, against the threat of expulsion. This is 
an excellent example of how the problem of slum dwellers is solved in 
Israel. These dwellers are primarily, if not all, members of the Sephar- 
dic community. Tens of thousands of them live from public welfare 
projects and the dole .. ." 

While barriers to the general labor market were ultimately lifted for 
Arabs, they have a difficult time getting professional and white-collar 
jobs. "Tens of thousands of Arabs," YosefVaschitz wrote in 1962, "most 
of them young people, leave their villages in order to seek employment 
in the towns . . . They remain mostly in the unskilled and semi-skilled 
categories . . . They are unorganized for the most part. Their living 
conditions are very bad, especially when compared with those of the 
average Jewish worker, and they feel very strongly their 'relative dep- 
rivation' in comparison with the luxuries which they see before 
them . . ." {Israel and the Arabs.) 

Although Histadrut finally decided in the late fifties to open its mem- 
bership to Arab workers, Vaschitz points out that "there is no value 
in formal membership of the Histadrut as long as it is not accompanied 
by a fundamental change of values in the organization of employ- 
ment . . . The Arab worker has not penetrated into the large-scale 
industry of the country, but only to the fringes of manufacture . . . 
because these fringes were unorganized and the institutions of the His- 
tadrut and the [Employment] Exchanges were not equipped to avoid 
the penetration of the Arab worker into them; or these occupations 
involve hard and unpleasant work ... or are associated with long 
and inconvenient hours . . ." 

It is clear from these bits of authoritative testimony that the collec- 
tivist virtues represented by the kibbutzim, labor hegemony in the 
government-dominated Histadrut, and elements of public ownership, 
do not make an appreciable difference in Israel's social physiognomy — 
that of a capitalist state with certain special features. 

The highly advertised kibbutzim represent a small section of the econ- 
omy and still smaller section of the population. They are reserved only 
for the relatively few families enrolled who must share a common 
ideological and political outlook. They confront their hired hands, as 
well as the domestic market, as private entrepreneurs, just like any 
corporation, except — most bosses don't preach socialism to their em- 
ployees! While some naive members and supporters appear to hold the 
preposterous notion that these communal settlements will chart the way 
to communism, the kibbutzim do not influence the overall nature of 
Israeli society nor its foreign policy, even though their dedicated and 
disciplined membership carry out tasks of land reclamation and de- 
fense that no other section of the population can, or will. 



24 



25 



The Histadrut is largely an arm of the state, the largest employer 
and the biggest strikebreaker in Israel. Its original function when 
founded in 1922 was to create a Jewish working-class at the expense 
of the native Arab workers, merchants, and peasants. It has become 
a big source of privileges, income, political power, and patronage for 
the Zionist establishment. 

Israel consequently serves and defends special interests, as Ya'ari, 
Chazan and others testify. It does not by any means defend or repre- 
sent all the citizens of its class-divided society, not even all the Jewish 
citizen's, any more than the White House really defends or represents 
all the American people. To support Israel means to grant one's con- 
fidence to the initiative of the current bourgeois, Zionist, pro-imperialist 
regime which demands unity around its program, behind whatever 
adventures, reactionary alliances, and extorted deals it chooses to 
implement. 



Israel's capitalist ambitions today 

Since its tactical opposition to the joint British-French- Israeli aggres- 
sion in Suez in 1956, Washington has taken over from the British and 
the French the main responsibilities for "peace-keeping" in the Middle 
East. But Washington has certain reservations about its intervention 
in the Middle East. New York Times Jerusalem correspondent James 
Feron reported a conversation with Israeli officials, June 11, 1966: 
"This is the way a Foreign Office official put it: The United States has 
come to the conclusion that it can no longer respond to every incident 
around the world, that it must rely on a local power — the deterrent of 
a friendly power — as a first line to stave off America's direct involve- 
ment. 

"In the Israeli view Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara outlined 
this approach last month just a few days before the Skyhawk deal 
was announced. In a major address in Montreal, one that attracted 
considerable attention in high quarters here, Mr. McNamara reviewed 
American commitments around the world and said: 

'"It is the policy of the United States to encourage and achieve a 
more effective partnership with those nations who can, and should, 
share international peace-keeping responsibilities.' 

"Israel feels that she fits this definition and the impression that has 
been conveyed by some Government officials is that Foreign Minister 
Abba Eban and Mr. McNamara conferred over Skyhawk details in 
the context of this concept when the Israeli diplomat was in Washing- 
ton last February." 

The June 6, 1967, Wall Street Journal put the following headlines 
on its front-page coverage of the Israeli expansion: "Neutral — to a 
Point: U. S. Hinges Its Policy on Hopes That Israel Will Win — and 
Quickly: Washington Fears It Will Be Forced to Intervene Alone If 
Arabs Get Upper Hand: A Vietnam in The Middle East?" 






Newsweek magazine, writing after the Israeli victory June 19, de- 
clared, ". . . To Washington, the combination of Israeli muscle and 
U. S. sweet talk had produced eminently satisfactory results ... As 
an indirect beneficiary of the Israeli blitz, the U. S. should at least be 
in a position to neutralize the Middle East, so that its oil can be prof- 
itably marketed and its waterways used for the benefit of world com- 
merce . . ." 

On Israel's side, there has been less need of duplicity. Beginning with 
Israel's support of the United States in the Korean War, the list of her 
pro-imperialist policies included: the brazen invasion (together with 
Britain and France) of Egypt in 1956; support of the French against 
the Algerian freedom fighters, whom Israel labeled "terrorist gangs"; 
support of the French atomic testing program in the Sahara, which 
was opposed by the Africans; training of counterrevolutionary para- 
troopers for the Congo's General Mobutu, accomplice in the murder 
of Patrice Lumumba; opposition to the admission of China into the 
UN; support of Jordan's King Hussein against the Palestinian refu- 
gees' attempts to overthrow him; endorsement of the Eisenhower doc- 
trine and support of the Anglo-American intervention of troops into 
Lebanon and Jordan during the Iraqi revolution of 1958. Unlike the 
Arab leadership, the Israeli regime has refused to condemn the U. S. 
war in Vietnam and has found unofficial ways of indicating its sym- 
pathy with the U. S. aims, for instance, Moshe Dayan's USIA-financed 
trip to South Vietnam as a "journalist," earlier last year. 

When Israeli premier Levi Eshkol visited Washington last year to 
get military aid, he insisted to Jewish leaders, including critics of the 
war in Vietnam, that "what Johnson does in Vietnam is right." A Jan- 
uary 20, 1969, New York Times dispatch from Jerusalem reported 
there was a "roar of approval when Mr. Eshkol said [to the Knesset], 
'He'll be remembered as one of the great Presidents of America.'" He 
was speaking of Lyndon Johnson! 

The question isn't simply — as the Zionists sometimes put it — of 
having a land of their own. It is also a question of what kind of 
nation, of its class composition and rule. Abba Eban aspires that Isra- 
el become a miniature United States in the Middle East. He wrote in 
1957: "What we aspire to is not the relationship which exists between 
Lebanon and Syria . . . [but] the relationship between the United 
States and the Latin American continent ... of economic interaction, 
but across a frankly confessed gulf of historic, cultural, and linguistic 
differences . . . Integration is something to be avoided . . . [There] is 
the danger lest they [Oriental immigrants] force Israel to equalize its 
cultural level with that of the neighboring world . . . [We] should in- 
fuse them with an Occidental spirit, rather than allow them to draw 
us into an unnatural Orientalism." ( Voice of Israel. ) 

Foreign Minister Eban doesn't intend to consult the Oriental Jews as 
to what kind of nation they want, and they constitute 50 per cent of the 
population of Israel. The right to be a Jew in his own land, the right 



26 



27 



of all Jews to come and be citizens of Israel, is hedged with restrictions. 
It carries the requirement of supporting a state which seeks to join the 
privileged circle of capitalist nations to become "just like the other 
nations," that is, to become just like the Western imperialist powers. 
Eban told a New York victory rally, shortly after the six-day war: 
"We feel that we have fought and won this battle not for ourselves alone 
but for Jewry everywhere, and in some small measure, perhaps for 
the vindication and reassertion of Western Democracy." 

Israeli policies flow from her character as an exclusively Jewish 
capitalist state, carved out at the expense of the native peoples, and 
plagued with typical problems of capitalist society, including class 
struggles, economic crises, unemployment, racism, and militarism. 
Israel has been propped up by outside financial aid, much of it from 
the Jewish communities in the United States, England, France, and 
South Africa. And this foreign inflow from capitalist powers, the largest 
per capita in the world, has enabled Israel to live beyond her means 
as a privileged tenant surrounded by poverty-stricken and humiliated 
nations. 

Israel's claim to "vindicate and reassert" Western democracy has the 
ring of Washington's napalm bombs raining down on Vietnamese 
civilians — in the name of Western democracy. New York Times chief 
Saigon correspondent Charles Mohr visited the Palestine battlefield 
after the six-day war: "It was possible to see the bodies of several 
hundred Egyptian soldiers along the roads. Most of them were cut 
down by strafing Israeli jet planes. Many had thrown away their 
helmets, their weapons and even their shoes as they abandoned their 
ruined vehicles and tried to flee westward . . . Much of this destruction 
was done after the army had become a fleeing mob lacking discipline 
or the means to defend itself." (June 18, 1967. ) 

Tf that is what Israel is, it is not difficult to understand the response 
of the Arab guerrillas and their fellow liberation fighters around the 
world: "You want to be like these other nations who exploit, squander 
wealth and invade us at will? All right! But you are no longer the 
persecuted. You are among the persecutors, the enemy. The only ones 
among you who can save you from our wrath are those who are will- 
ing to take the side of the victims, the exploited, the oppressed, who 
are willing to struggle with us against imperialism, who do not ask 
for a special private solution, for Jews only, in partnership with it!" 

There can be no special solution of the Jewish problem on a purely 
nationalist basis apart from the struggle for socialism. In fact, Israel 
is not in the privileged circles of New York, London, and Paris — and 
never will be. Ultimately the Jews in Israel are just as dependent on 
the whims of great powers as they used to be. The formation of Israel 
has not brought any greater measure of safety to those Jews who re- 
main outside Israel, still a majority of world Jewry. The late Marxist 
historian Isaac Deutscher warned: "Let this society suffer any severe 
shock, such as it is bound to suffer; let there be again millions of 






unemployed, and we will see the same lower-middle-class alliance with 
the Lumpenproletariat, from whom Hitler recruited his following, run- 
ning amok with anti-Semitism. As long as the nation-state imposes its 
supremacy and as long as we have not an international society in 
existence, as long as the wealth of every nation is in the hands of one 
national capitalist oligarchy, we shall have chauvinism, racialism, 
and, as its culmination, anti-Semitism." (The Non-Jewish Jew and 
Other Essays, 1968.) Deutscher rejected the Zionist illusions of "safety 
in Israel" and urged the intensification of the world struggle for social- 
ism as the only hope for saving the Jewish people and all the other 
peoples from the next catastrophic crimes of imperialism. 

Israeli policies, on the contrary, lead further and further into a dead- 
ly trap. The Jewish National Homeland has ironically become the most 
dangerous place in the world for Jews to be! Israel's heightened ag- 
gressiveness makes the Mideast situation increasingly unstable and 
alienates her from the entire Third World and the rising young gener- 
ation now undergoing radicalization. 

The futility of the Israeli policy of military repression and savage 
retaliations — in order to "teach a lesson" to the Arabs— has become 
increasingly apparent. This is especially so since the 1967 aggression 
when Israel took over large territories from the surrounding Arab 
countries containing close to a million Arabs, most of whom were the 
Palestinian refugees who lost their homes and lands in the 1948 war 
and their descendants. 

Israel must now bear the new burdens and risks of an occupying 
power obliged to control a large and hostile population no longer 
outside, but inside, her latest de facto borders. The new conditions 
have permitted a Palestinian resistance movement to emerge which 
now engages in political methods of struggle such as strikes, boycotts, 
protests, demonstrations and sit-ins, in addition to the activities of the 
new guerrilla forces. And the Israeli occupying forces act just like the 
occupying forces of other nations: they disperse peaceful protests and 
fire at demonstrators; they club men, women, children in demonstra- 
tions; they hurl tear gas; they blow up houses; they jail and deport 
political opponents. This is the essence of the new stage of the Arab- 
Israel conflict: the frenzied response of a pro-imperialist regime to the 
rise of national liberation struggle. 

The imperialist dreams of Israel's rulers are by no means shared 
by the entire population of Israel. The late A. J. Liebling described a 
conversation with a young Sabra (native Israeli) paratrooper follow- 
ing the 1956 invasion: 

"I looked at those people sitting there so sad. Having been born 
here, I speak Arabic, of course, and I talked to some. I thought, they 
are Palestinians like me. I felt ashamed. I thought, we have driven 
our neighbors from their land and we are giving it to Europeans — 
we are begging Europeans to come here and take our neighbors' land. 
But we must live with our neighbors if we are to stay here. The old 



28 



men who run the government don't understand this, because they 
are European, too." {New Yorker, March 30, 1957.) 

The decisive question is whether these young people can develop a 
new leadership that can replace the "old men," i.e., the Zionist estab- 
lishment that is dragging them towards another holocaust. What 
should they advocate? 

They must repudiate the idea of maintaining a racist, settler-colo- 
nial state and work towards the creation of a democratic Palestine 
in which Jews and Arabs alike would enjoy equal rights. Such a 
state would repudiate a proimperialist orientation and fully identify 
with the Third World and the colonial revolution. It must recognize 
the terrible historical injustice done to the Palestinian Arabs and of- 
fer to take them back or compensate them in resettling elsewhere in 
a place of their choice. The expense this would incur would in any 
case be less than the frightful cost threatened by the continuing con- 
flict Israeli Jewish revolutionaries must announce to the world that 
the aim of offering sanctuary to persecuted Jews depends just as 
much upon an honorable settlement and fraternal relations with the 
Arab peoples as it does upon the "irrigation of the desert." They 
must call upon all nations and individuals who claim they are in 
favor of such a haven for persecuted Jews, who claim to favor 
peace in the Middle East, who claim to be remorseful about the 
Nazi massacres, to contribute funds instead of armaments to make 
this rehabilitation possible. 

Such demands would have an irresistible appeal to peoples every- 
where. The rich Western powers, Washington and London par- 
ticularly, who did not lift a finger to save the Jewish refugees 
from Hitler, who handled the refugee boats like loads of quaran- 
tined cattle, who were ready to let the gaunt survivors of the con- 
centration camps rot in miserable displaced persons camps before 
admitting them, while sucking billions in oil and commerical prof- 
its from the Arab lands, could no longer play their hypocritical, 
self-serving game which pits the misery of a long-persecuted peo- 
ple against that of a colonially exploited one. 

A democratic Palestine would set aside the discriminatory "law 
of return," which grants any Jew in the world the right to immi- 
grate to Israel while the native-born Arabs are exiled. Immigra- 
tion rights would be granted on the basis of the merits of each 
case. The onerous police rule that Israel now maintains over its 
own legal Arab citizenry would be lifted. It would abolish 
all forms of discrimination against the so-called Oriental 
Jews, who constitute half the Jewish population of Israel today 
and whose miserable slums are reservoirs of anti-Arab fanaticism. 

In other words, a new political movement of the workers and 
farmers, both Jewish and Arab, must come to power as the only 
regime capable of concluding peace with the Arab people. Such 
a regime would repudiate Zionism, which has tied Jewish workers 
to construction of a capitalist and semitheocratic state and split 
them from their natural allies among Arab workers and peasants. 

This orientation has greater possibilities now that a Palestinian 



29 

liberation movement has emerged whose aim is the rehabilitation — 
and redemption -of its people, not vindication of- ambitious col- 
onels, not the perpetration of useless revenge, not the accumula- 
tion of prestigious weapons, not the preservation of capitalist prop- 
erty relations or friendly ties with the big powers. Genuine 
negotiations would require recognition of this movement as an 
equal power and the working out of a just settlement in which 
both Arab and Jewish communities of Palestine would have equal 
rights in building a new Palestine. 

Such a new Palestine would have to proceed to the building 
of socialism, achieved through revolutionary means by the work- 
ers' and farmers' movement. It would be capable of encouraging 
a similar movement in the Arab countries to overthrow the ruling 
classes there who now stand in the way of the socialist unfolding 
of the Arab revolution. Such a movement would construct a nation 
where both Hebrew and Arab peoples would be free to pursue their 
respective cultures, practice their religions— or lack of one- and 
provide havens for refugees from any nation when the need arises. 
The Israeli Socialist Organization, a small group comprised of both 
Jews and Arabs now carrying on modest educational activity in 
Israel, most clearly represents this alternative direction for Israel. The 
arbitrary arrests, harassments, and jailings of ISO members merely 
for political expression and activity indicate how much the Zionist 
capitalist regime tears its program. 

The longer the Israelis dance around the golden calf of victory, the 
wider will be the gap of bitterness and hostility that they must even- 
tually have to bridge for their survival. The Arab defeat in the six-day 
war helped impel the development of a critical and revolutionary new 
wing in the Arab world not tied to the native business, bureaucratic, 
or landed interests. This new wing, centered now among the Palestin- 
ians, is likewise showing life among the students and workers in other 
Arab nations. It might well prove capable of uniting the Arab peoples 
on an internationalist socialist program that can appeal to the poor 
and exploited majority of Israel over the heads of the present Zionist 
establishment, the military officers and "heroes," the labor bureaucrats, 
the real-estate sharks, and the government executives. There is no area 
of the world where the crucial need for a revolutionary socialist leader- 
ship and a socialist revolution is more clearly revealed as the only 
reasonable, non-utopian, practical, and immediate goal for peace and 
genuine liberation. 

American revolutionaries can do their part to speed that prospect 
if they supply an antidote to Zionist chauvinism by creating an inter- 
nationalist and socialist countertrend of thought in progressive circles 
and the Jewish community. In view of the close connection between the 
United States and Israel, such educational work may facilitate the for- 
mation of a different program, a different leadership, and a different 
direction by the Jewish workers and farmers of Israel. 




Readings in this subject available from Pathfinder Press: 

HOW CAN THE JEWS SURVIVE? A Socialist Answer to 

;■ ; ;/■■■■ I-'::. "-^TP : M\ h>L; ^ :'■'; " : ' : S;:-?^33^^1l¥5^ 

Well-known American Marxist scholar George Novae k re- 
views The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays by the late Isaac 



ZIONISM AND THE ARAB REVOLUT 

■• . : : ■■■:/ ' - 

In addition to the title article, this pamphlet 
ments issued by the Israeli Socialist Orga, 
of a non-Zionist, socialist solution in the Mid 



n, sxt 1 




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of Z.i nfiict 






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rhis is a collection of readers' letters to the editor of th< 
socialist newspaper The Militant, written alter the Ju 
war, debating ,v$ on the Mideast conflict. 









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